President George W. Bush said Friday that the U.S. economy is in a slowdown but added that tax rebates should help pull activity out of the slump.
"It's obvious our economy is in a slowdown," Bush said in a statement at the White House.
The economic-stimulus rebates will begin reaching taxpayers on Monday.
Rebate checks of up to $1,200 per couple and even more for families with dependent children are part of a $168 billion stimulus package enacted in February. The IRS says the first direct deposits of rebates will begin Monday, with paper checks to follow starting next month.
Previously, the Treasury had planned to begin tax rebate payments in early May as part of a $152 billion stimulus plan passed in February.
The checks had to wait until after the Internal Revenue Service processed the bulk of tax returns filed before April 15.
Bush says the checks will help the slumping economy. Earlier this week, he denied the nation was in a recession, instead saying, "We are in a slowdown." But many economists believe the economy may already be in a recession.
More than 800,000 electronic payments will be sent to tax filers per day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, with an additional 5 million sent on Friday, May 2.